With all the bustling of modern energy sources in the future, natural gas is an often-overlooked option. It might not seem like it, but natural gas has many advantages over the old guard of fuels. It can compete on many fronts, even cleanliness, with the newly emerging energy sources of solar and wind.
The single biggest advantage natural gas has is its availability. This comes in several forms. First and most obviously, it is easy to come by. Natural gas was long viewed as a waste by product of oil drilling and was simply vented into the air. Now that systems have been built to use natural gas it is actively being collected for use.
The second main form is quantity. Many natural gas reserves are quite large and for the most part untapped. Natural gas can provide the backbone energy rates in the short term needed to pick up the slack from old coal networks. It will even work as a replacement for gasoline. This is projected to be its biggest use case.
Gas pipelines and shipping are much cheaper safer than traditional fuels. With the biggest concerns of a leak being methane, rather than toxic spills or dumps. Natural gas is usually pressurized into a liquid and shipped much like oil. This allows reusing existing infrastructure. When burnt the gas produces only around half the emissions from a coal plant. However, with a vehicle the rates are much less. Sometimes as low as 15% of the heat trapping gas compared to gasoline. Other harmful particles such as mercury are negligible with natural gas. Even NOx, which leads to smog, is vastly reduced.
Many alternative energy sources have always run into a fuel effectiveness problem. They don’t have as good of performance causing slow acceleration and low speeds. While natural gas is not quite as energy dense as gasoline and diesel, it does have very similar performance. With a larger fuel tank most converted vehicle will meet the same performance requirements they had before.
Converting to a natural gas system is relatively cheap compared to other alternatives. The distribution network is already set up through-out most of the country. This leaves only the fueling stations to be built. Additionally, the emissions requirements are much easier to meet thanks to natural gas being so clean. After converting over to a natural gas system, the cost to run a vehicle are similar.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has made the leap to “go green” at its embassy in Washington, D.C. Their progress toward an environmentally-friendly facility has garnered recognition from the U.S. Green Building Council and other agencies.
The Deputy Chief of Mission for the UAE embassy, Omar Al Shamsi, said that the Embassy retrofitted its buildings to decrease its energy output by 40 percent. “This significant decrease will lead to enormous savings in the embassy’s electricity costs while preventing the emission of nearly 400 tons of CO2 annually,” he said.
In order to reduce energy, the Embassy carefully selected materials and transportation options at the building. The Embassy also informed its staff about energy saving awareness to further reduce energy consumption, as well as improved indoor air quality and water waste management.
Working closely with the UAE Embassy was the renewable energy company Masdar, which is based out of Abu Dhabi. Masdar helped them plan for the project as well as assisted in installing new equipment.
Due to the success of the project, the U.S. Green Building Council awarded the Embassy with a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Status. This makes the UAE Embassy in D.C. the second highest rated LEED status embassy in the world. It ranks in the top 25 percent of energy efficiency among similar buildings in the area.
The Embassy was also certified by the Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR program. ENERGY STAR is an international certification given only to products and buildings that meet the EPA’s rigorous standards.
“The UAE Embassy now stands as one of the most sustainable buildings in the United States,” said Yousef Al Otaiba, the UAE’s ambassador the United States.
The UAE said that it wants the Washington D.C. Embassy to be the standard benchmark for its Embassies in other countries.
With all of the recent press on alternative energy sources fracking and oil shale seem to have been put off to the side. While research of renewable energy sources is important currently oil shale is the most widely used energy source in America with the United Sates being the top oil producer. For a happy, healthy America we need to utilize the tools that we presently have which will enable us to move into a bright future. EIA estimates total U.S. gas production from 2012 to 2040 will increase 56 percent, with natural gas from shale the leading contributor.
Hydraulic fracturing is a combination of advanced hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, commonly referred to a “fracking”. After the well is drilled a mixture of water, sand, and trace additives are pumped into the well, the sand creates small fractures that leak out the oil. This is a method used to retrieve oil from deep within shale and other mineral deposits. This method is used to create new oil wells and to stimulate old wells to produce more oil.
Fracking has benefits to the United States such as increased trade leverage and monetary gains. We’re also seeing a hoard of benefits to the common wealth of America. Most states have been seeing great savings at the gas pump, a notable improvement from the all-time highs of 2012 and 2013. The most surprising benefit, gas bills have been dropping $13 billion per year in recent years. That’s an average of 200 dollars per American household. In some regions families are only saving 181 dollars, however some regions are gaining savings in excess of 432 dollars per person, per household. The money saved on gas goes into other areas of spending and re-stimulates the economy.
Incredibly, fracking has brought 2.1 million jobs to the United States to date. A final thought on fracking, horizontal drilling along with proper well construction and fracking water recycling can all help to minimize the environmental impact of fracking. With this industry booming America should take advantage of the boost its giving the economy and our pockets, meanwhile research and development of alternative energy resources will only increase the potential of our great country and aid to the effectiveness of our country as a whole.
Here’s a sight that will melt the heart of any post-blizzard commuter: Pavement that stays clear even as snow descends.
A special concrete mix, studded with electricity-conducting ingredients, could help airports and other places run on time during inclement weather — such as the weekend blizzard that paralyzed the U.S. Northeast.
So the Federal Aviation Administration is funding research to make this costly conductive concrete more affordable.
The new formula being tested at University of Nebraska-Lincoln uses byproducts from the coal and steel industries to reduce costs 60 percent compared to earlier trials, according to professor of civil engineering Chris Tuan. The 200-square-foot patch has embedded steel rods attached to electrodes, he says, that connect to a 120-volt AC power source. The conductivity comes from “coke breeze,” a carbon byproduct of coal mining, and steel shavings that are considered industrial waste.
“We keep it barely above freezing … somewhere around 40 degrees,” Tuan says, noting it doesn’t take much heat to make the slab impervious to snow. “It doesn’t get hot at all.”
Some heated driveways and roads use a system of underground coils, or radiant heat, but Tuan says they provide uneven warming, with cold spots in-between the tubes.
“When you use conducting concrete, the entire concrete heats up,” he says. “There is no cold area.” He adds that his system is virtually maintenance-free, and takes only about 13 watts of energy per square foot.
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There has been a long standing debate on the use of foam products for all sorts of uses, in just about every city around the country, and a ton of them have actually gone as far as to ban the use of foam completely. New York City was one of the cities that went for an all-out ban on the use of such products, which caused a lot of debate, but there is great news, as the ban has officially been over turned.
This had caused a lot of problems for all sorts of people around the city, as many businesses use these types of products each and every day, which is great, as they are so cheap to purchase. When the New York foam ban went into effect, these businesses had no choice but to use alternative products, which ended up costing a lot more money. This was not good for anyone in the city, which is why it is so great that the ban has been reversed.
The other side of this ban was the fact that a lot of environmentalists complained that this type of foam was not able to be recycled and that the bulk of the products were winding up in landfills. The reason that this was such a huge problem, as a great deal of them argued, was the fact that polypropylene products do not break down for over five hundred years, meaning that the landfills were going to stay that way for a very long time.
However, foam absolutely can be recycled and in fact, there are all sorts of cities around the country that are focusing a great deal of their efforts on streamlining a process of recycling foam. Reversing the ban in New York City is great for the people in the city, as well as the environment and is a very promising decision that has a lot of people excited around the country.
There are still certain areas around the United States that have foam banned, but hopefully this decision will make other cities around the country think about reversing their bans on all sorts of foam products. The reality is that the use of foam is a great thing for all sorts of companies and industries out there, which is why it is such a positive thing that New York City has gone ahead and reversed their decision.
Oil in the ocean doesn’t sound like a good thing-especially after something like the massive Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Now, though, researchers have found that life thrives above natural oil seeps in the form of phytoplankton.
The oil itself doesn’t seem to be helping the plankton. However, the low concentration of oil found above natural seeps isn’t kill them, either. In addition, it seems as if the turbulence from the rising oil and gas bubbles from below brings deep-water nutrients that the phytoplankton need to grow.
“This is the beginning of evidence that some microbes in the Gulf may be preconditioned to survive with oil, at least at lower concentrations,” said Ajit Subramaniam, one of the researchers, in a news release. “In this case, we clearly see these phytoplankton are not negatively affected at low concentrations of oil, and there is an accompanying process that helps them thrive. This does not mean that exposure to oil at all concentrations for prolonged lengths of time is good for phytoplankton.”
Read full article here: http://www.scienceworldreport.com/articles/36347/20160126/oil-leaking-gulf-mexico-deep-ocean-helping-marine-life-thrive.htm
Source: Science World Report
The polystyrene foam used in many industrial processes is going to help make a difference in many different productions, but the foam is falling out of favor all over the world today. People want to ban polystyrene foam state by state, like a Montana foam ban that has been discussed, but it can be used for better things when it is recycled the right way. Recycling of the foam is simple, and it can be turned back into something that is going to be useful to future generations. Recycling is easy to do for many products, and the polystyrene can be recycled in centers made just for it.
The centers that are made to recycle the foam will take in the foam from any trash processing center, and the foam can be sold off to a company that is in need of the foam for its own production. This is going to help people who are in need of new raw materials, and the raw materials can be sold at a profit to the recycling center. This helps the people who are looking for ways to get the foam out of their communities, and it will provide a profit for the people who are putting together recycling plans for their communities.
Banning the foam from communities makes it very hard for these communities to do the right thing with their own environments, and the way that the recycling centers work helps to keep the foam off the streets and out of landfills. The foam is going to be used whether people want it to be or not, and recycling makes more sense for the environment overall.
The recycling centers are going to take up more of the foam because the foam is not going to landfills, and the landfills are going to biodegrade more quickly. This is a very important part of the process for taking care of the planet, and the people that want to ban the foam will be able to get past the foam. This is something that is going to help communities that want to make difference, and the recycling centers are going to help people when they need to put more jobs into the community.
Polystyrene foam is a big thing for people who want to take care of the planet, but the people that are trying to get better results need to get it off the streets using the recycling centers that can start up today.